DJ Shams
DJ Shams

Dallas Observer Mixtape with Shams

Shams emerged as a new face in the Dallas DJ scene this year, regularly manning the decks on the rooftop of Lower Greenville's Nora with his crew, House of Champagne. He also recently joined the Motif team.

Like many of his techno and house peers, he has deep roots in synth pop and new wave and prefers melodic synthesizers with his track selection. Shams plays deep, techy house music and explores that turf for this week's sexy Observer mixtape.

How did you get started deejaying? What drew you into that lifestyle?
I grew up in South Asia in a small country called Bangladesh until I was 19. When I was 16, I heard Robert Miles’ "Children" for the first time. I was drawn to that style of sound starting at that moment. I just did not have access to that type of music in that part of the planet at the time.

The closest music I had available to me was Pet Shop Boys. I rediscovered a similar sound after I moved to the U.S. in 1998 when I first went to Lizard Lounge. I remember being impressed by the show "Edge Club." In 1999, a great friend name Yelena Booker first introduced me to the freshly released album Fat of the Land by Prodigy.

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It’s the combination of listening to that album, meeting one of my all-time best friends, Josh Cavanaugh, and going to Club One and listening to Scotty play Depeche Mode’s Danny Tenaglia mix "I Feel Loved" that really started to get me curious about how the industry works.

How was this mix made? Is there a particular theme for the track selection?
This mix was made using Pioneer DJ controller XDJ-RX. I tried to mix a well-balanced, darker techie sound to tasteful progressive with some vocals in the mix to tell a story. I tried to have a little bit of beauty and little bit of the beast. The listener gets to decide what that story might be, based on location scenery and where they are in their life at the moment. More like a book. Every story paints a different visual picture to the individual reader.

How did House of Champagne come about?
That credit goes to my closest friend, Diana Castañeda, and my very best friend, Shelby Johnson. The name came about when we actively started throwing parties in my investment properties. Apparently my name, Shams, rhymes with Champagne. We mostly throw parties where DJs play house music. So there you go. And did I say that we love to enjoy Champagne?

What was your most significant musical experience of the past year?
Ugh. It would be totally unfair to isolate just one event. It was the Adriatique and Solomun show at the BPM this year and the Patrice Baumel set at the Oregon Eclipse. The significance of the BPM show was that I successfully got to introduce my style of sound to someone very special, who received and appreciated it. The significance of the Oregon Eclipse show was that I got to enjoy one the best sets I’ve heard by Patrice Baumel with two of my absolute wonderful friends, Shelby Johnson and Diana Castañeda.

Are there any producers or DJs in particular who have your attention right now? 
Yes of course. If I had to pick, Adriatique and Patrice Baumel would be my two most favorites at the moment.

Where do you like to dig for tracks?
SoundCloud, Mixcloud and Beatport are where I am usually finding tracks. But I constantly follow my favorite artists and their live audio and video feeds. I follow them on social media as well to hear what is relevant.

What music gets your attention outside of dance music?
I am a huge fan of the '80s. Depeche Mode, the Cure, Foreigner, Modern Talking, Pet Shop Boys, Tears for Fears are a few of a really long list of artists. I also love Jazz by Diana Krall and Pink Martini. On the dark side, I love NIN, Front 242, KMFDM and more.

What gigs or releases do you have coming up?
I play every other Sunday on the rooftop at Nora, hosted by House of Champagne. I have a welcome party to play at Nora for Motif on Oct. 7, as they decided to welcome me as one of their family members. Significant thanks go to Rebecca Korosi, Donny Young and, of course, Diana Castañeda for that. I also have an extended set to play at a club in Little Rock, Arkansas, on Oct. 21.

Adriatique – "Womb"
Chris Llopis – "Clove (Martin Landsky Remix)"
Serge Devant – "In Time"
Martin Buttrich and Timo Maas – "Nach Acht"
Stelios Vassiloudis – "Blood Orange"
Derek Marin and Juliet Fox – "Roomers (Alexander Aurel Remix)"
Andre Lodemann – "Birth (Adriatique Remix)"
Oliver Giacomotto, Noir and Hendrik Burkhard – "Blackrays (Kiko and Citizen Kain Remix)"
Olderic and Peter Pardeike – "Connaisseur"
Rush Midnight and Lehar – "The Cave"

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